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Hugh Grant Shares His American Dreamz


Shares His American Dreams

By Brad Balfour

Having been AWOL for a while, British comic great Hugh Grant finally resurfaces in the biting satire, American Dreamz. Playing the smarmy host Martin Tweed, he outdoes Simon Cowell in being the heartless destroyer of dreams.

Grant has played this part before and virtually defines the character, as he did in director Paul Weitz's earlier film, About A Boy. But the 40-something actor has proven to be not only a crowd pleaser – he's been named one of Britain's sexiest men – but an actor with range spanning many serious roles among a long list of hit comedies.

You've had a low profile lately. What do you think about your career at this point?

I haven't had much work for the past 18 months. That's true. I did slightly lose interest. But I got bored of being bored, so I'm back. In fact, I start another film tomorrow, which I know you'll like because I play an '80s pop star, and you'll get to see me sing and dance. It's called Music & Lyrics. That's the working title. I don't know what will happen (to the title).

Do you know Simon?

Simon Cowell I've met at a couple of parties. I don't know him at all.

Are you imitating him?

This part isn't based on him aside from the fact that [in the movie] I'm a judge on a talent show that's massively popular and I'm very cool [laughter]. It's there where the resemblance stops. The part is really a creation of [director] Paul Weitz and his warped vision of …really… me.

Was there a difference working with Paul alone versus working with Paul and his brother Chris (who worked together on American Pie and About a Boy)?

They work more sinisterly seamless as a pair (laughs). My personal theory is that they were Siamese twins joined at the head, and very cunningly separated.

Do you watch American Idol?

I'd never seen a show before this film, but I watched a bunch of tapes, and I enjoy cruelty. I like people being humiliated. I like watching freaks. The freakier the better, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think the show goes far enough. I'd quite like to see the losers tortured.

And the winners?

Yes. Especially the winners [tortured]. It's very fascinating. In a way, [it's] a return to ancient Rome, like Christians being fed to the lions. It's also [demonstrating the existence of] that gene within some people, probably all of us here – with the possible exception of Paul – (however much you play it down and try to deny it), (that makes them) want to be in the limelight. That's what all these tragic characters on American Idol obviously have. It's enjoyable to see that in someone that doesn't have the talent to match it. I totally understand the appeal.

Is there a reality show you'd like to host?

I have a secret desire to be on TV. As for the reality show I'd like to host, it would be I Am Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. I feel like that right now [laughs]. If it was not beneath my dignity, I'd be doing lots of them. I tried to persuade Colin Firth to do a celebrity wrestle match, but he was afraid of it. Not of being hurt, but of becoming aroused.

Having played a chief executive (the British Prime Minister in Love Actually), what advice did you have for Dennis Quaid (playing the President) or Willem Dafoe (as his Vice President)?

Willem had been coming to me for acting advice for years – ever since I did Lair of the White Worm, but no more than usual.

Copyright ©2006 All rights reserved. Posted: April 22, 2006.

Photo Credits:

#1 © 2006. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

#2 © 2006. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

#3 © 2006. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

#4 © 2006. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

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